Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 3, 2015

The Populist Democrats are Coming!

Noam Scheiber, in his compelling profile of Elizabeth Warren and follow-up piece, uses the popular new senator as a metaphor to analyze the ideological shift taking place within the Democratic party.

Scheiber: “On one side is a majority of Democratic voters, who are angrier, more disaffected, and altogether more populist than they’ve been in years. They are more attuned to income inequality than before the Obama presidency and more supportive of Social Security and Medicare. They’ve grown fonder of regulation and more skeptical of big business. A recent Pew poll showed that voters under 30—who skew overwhelmingly Democratic—view socialism more favorably than capitalism. Above all, Democrats are increasingly hostile to Wall Street and believe the government should rein it in.”

In his follow-up piece, Scheiber stresses the main point of his Warren profile: “even a quick glance at the numbers tells you Democratic voters today are much more in-step with Warren ideologically (and much less in step Clinton-era New Democrats) than they were back then. Recent polling by Pew shows Democrats becoming more preoccupied with inequality and more sympathetic to regulation since 2007. According to Gallup, the percentage of Democrats expressing dissatisfaction with “the size and influence of major corporations” rose from 51 to 79 between 2001 and 2011. And Democrats have become especially hostile to banks. Gallup finds that the percentage of Democrats with negative views toward banks has increased from 23 to 47 since 2007; the percentage with positive views has dropped from 51 to 31.”

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